29 April 2009

Bill Clinton's Earth Day Speech at Fortune Brainstorm Green

By Mary Vincent - Follow on Twitter @MaryVincent
Bill Clinton spoke on Earth Day, April 22, 2009 at the Fortune Brainstorm Green Conference. I was fortunate to attend the Conference and briefly meet him. He shared data points and perspectives regarding the global economy, his Clinton Climate Initiative success stories, and what WE can do.
From my perspective, some of Bill Clinton's best quotes are here:
"For those of us that don't have a vote in Congress or Copenhagen ... the most important thing we can do is to do."
"Income inequality has increased every year in the United States except for four...the four years of my second term...If you're a rich country in an open world, you've got to have a source of new jobs every five to eight years. I am convinced that if we do this energy thing right, it will generate not only enormous numbers of new jobs and economic prosperity for countries at every income level, it will cause people to reimagine how they do everything. And therefore the funds will flow naturally to healthcare, and the emerging economy will create a demand for higher levels of education. I basically have always believed that work is the best social program and I think as it happens saving the planet from the threat of climate change will create more work, more jobs, more ideas, and more positive interdependence than anything else we can do."
"The most important thing you can do is to prove that the transformation can be good economics."
Climate Initiative Work:
He went into great detail about the Climate Initiative's work.
  • C-40, group of the 40 largest cities on every continent except Antarctica working together to reduce climate emissions. Cities consume 75 per cent of the world's energy and produce 80 per cent of its greenhouse gas emissions. The program is pooling together the buying power of cities to lower the cost of energy saving products and hasten development and uptake of new energy saving technologies.
  • Install nearly 10,000 compact fluorescent light bulbs at the largest public housing development in the country, estimated to reduce greenhouse gases by 1,400 tons per year and overall electricity costs by 17%, saving NYCHA approximately $367,000 annually.
  • Empire State Building retrofit to be paid off in 8 years and is equivalent to taking 19,000 cars off road. The retrofits are expected to save building owners $4.4 million in annual energy costs.
  • Sweden decided to close a landfill and generate energy. Per the C-40 website, by generating energy from waste, 25% of the City’s CO2 emissions from energy consumption have been cut. Against a hypothetical measure of energy produced through burning of oil, waste-to-energy production saved the city an estimated 205,060 tonnes CO2 in 2006.
  • Cisco's initiative in conjunction with cities such as Seoul, Amsterdam, and San Francisco to transform the flow of people and traffic in urban areas, with the goal of scaling back harmful emissions related to cars, trains, buses, and other forms of transportation.
  • Discounted pricing agreements with more than 25 manufacturers of energy-efficient products, including building materials and systems, clean technology vehicles, and street and traffic lights. More than 1,100 cities worldwide now have access to these commodities through the CCI’s purchasing alliance.
  • Waste management projects in Mexico City and Lima including methane recovery and training of scavengers to be recycling workers. Methane is 23 times worse than carbon.
  • Give land back to poor people and schools.
  • Solar thermal project in Australia.
  • Carbon capture sites off the coast of Norway in the North Sea & storage technology.
  • Rockefeller grant to plan and implement programs to address deforestation issues
  • Project 2 Degrees is a collaboration between CCI, Microsoft, and ICLEI providing baseline carbon measurement tools to every city in the world, measure where they are, measure implementation of changes they make, and will eventually be multi-lingual by soon supporting the six UN languages – French, Spanish, Russian, Japanese, Chinese and Portuguese.
Bill Clinton says that long-term tax credits and utility-financed energy innovations are needed, including more upgrading on the electrical grid. State and localities should implement new building codes, public retrofits, and local governments should create a new market for cars, i.e. 15% hybrids. In the Private sector, Clinton says that Walmart cut 5% of the packaging which equals 211,000 diesel trucks off the road (U.S. annually).

Bill Clinton invited the attendees to attend his Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting September 22-25, 2009, which describes itself as the only venue where business, government, and civil-sector leaders work together to plan and launch specific projects and Commitments to Action to address global economic, environmental, and social challenges.


Additional videos for your reference (thanks to greendignews):
Video 1 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kJxjIgueSNI
Video 2 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKf0qU4Ygco
Video 3 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zHdmbNeN2lw

Story by Mary Vincent
Follow on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/MaryVincent